The most wonderful time of the year is finally here. Christmas? Close. College football season.

We’ve got the countdown clock in motion here at Star Tribune World Headquarters. To celebrate the new season, Joe Christensen and myself will have a daily look at the Gophers and national college football scene on our blogs with a series of Top 5 lists. Everyone loves a good list, right?

Joe will post his inside look at the Gophers team on his blog that can be found right here.

My first two blog can be found here and here. Today’s installment focuses on five players who could win the Heisman Trophy this season.

  1. Ohio State quarterback.

Identity still unknown at this point, but pick one. He’s probably a safe bet.

J.T. Barrett? Yep, it’s possible. All he did last season in relief was set 19 school records, account for 3,772 total yards and establish a Big Ten record with 45 total touchdowns.

Cardale Jones? Sure, why not. He went from third-string to all-world in leading the Buckeyes to victories against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to win the national title.

Braxton Miller? Well, maybe. He doesn’t even play quarterback anymore because of the two guys already mentioned, but give it time. If the worst-case scenario happens again and Miller finds himself back at quarterback, the Buckeyes will be more than OK.

  1. Ezekiel Ellliott, Ohio State

Must be tough being the Buckeyes, right?

Elliott is my preseason choice to win the Heisman. He rushed for 1,878 combined yards last season, which included 696 in a three-game stretch against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon in the postseason.

Here’s the key stat about Elliott’s big-play impact: He had 52 runs of 10-plus yards; five runs of 50-plus yards; and two runs of 80-plus yards.

In other words, he hits home runs.

  1. Trevone Boykin, TCU

A year ago, no one really knew much about Boykin nationally. Now, he’s a preseason favorite for the Heisman.

TCU coach Gary Patterson changed his offense last offseason, unveiling a wide-open, warp-speed attack that capitalized on Boykin’s skill set.

Boykin thrived in that system as TCU averaged 46.5 points, second most nationally.

Boykin set school records with 3,901 total yards and 33 touchdowns.

  1. Nick Chubb, Georgia

He’s only a sophomore, but he’s already one of the most feared players in the SEC.

He started his freshman season as Todd Gurley’s backup but became a star in Gurley’s absence.

Chubb rushed for 100 yards in eight consecutive games, the longest such streak at Georgia since Herschel Walker.

  1. Scooby Wright, Arizona

We’ll go with a long-shot from the defensive side. Doubtful that a guy on that side of the ball will win the Heisman the way offense rules college football, but Wright deserves consideration.

Arizona’s All-American linebacker ranked among the top five players nationally in total tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles last season.

Wright also has a cool nickname -- “Two-star Scoob” which is in reference to his star rating as a high school recruit. Love it.


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